Returning world champion Fernando Alonso has refused to make excuses for failing to shine immediately on his return to Formula 1 this season after admitting “I should be better.”
The two-time champion is back in F1 with Alpine after a two-year sabbatical but is yet to show his true talent after finishing behind team-mate Esteban Ocon at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and retiring from the opening race in Bahrain.
Asked if he was simply struggling to get used to the car, Alonso insisted: “It looks like that, but it cannot be an excuse to say that. It’s quite obvious that every lap we do as drivers we feel more comfortable.
“But this cannot be an excuse to say I did not perform well. I have to be more prepared and more ready next time. It doesn’t matter if you have little time, or no time in the car, I will try to be better next time.
“I’ve changed teams many times. I’ve even changed categories and different series in motorsport many times. There is always a period of adaptation.
"[But] there has never been an excuse and it’s not going to be an excuse now. I should be better. I was not at the right level this weekend, but I will be in Portimao.”
Alonso left the sport at the end of 2018 following a disappointing season with McLaren but was lured back to join the Enstone-based squad with which he won his two titles in 2005 and 2006 as Renault.
He spent a significant time in the paddock learning with the team last season and also drove older cars ahead of his comeback in Bahrain last month, where he qualified ninth but retired after 32 laps with brake issues.
Alonso said the race at Imola had given him some much needed understanding after very little running so far this year, with a quick-fire lesson on how the latest F1 cars behave in varied conditions after a race of all weathers.
Describing the race as a "triple experience", Alonso added: “From lap one to the end we changed conditions and grip levels so many times during the race, we had one red flag, we had one standing start, one rolling start…
“I mean, there were a lot of things to practice and to go through that normally takes four or five races, and we compressed all in one race with a lot of activity.
“I’m happy with the learnings, I’m happy to finally feel the car in wet conditions, so a lot of lessons to take, to analyse and, feeling wise, from lap one to lap 63, I felt 300 percent better in the way of how confident I am with the car. “
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